Barnaby Barford: The Tower of Babel





A major sculptural installation created for the V&A by artist Barnaby Barford, The Tower of Babel, told an array of stories about our capital city, our society and economy and ourselves as consumers.

Standing at an imposing six metres high, the Tower was comprised of 3000 bone china shops, each one unique, each depicting a real London shop photographed by the artist. At its base the shops were derelict, while at its pinnacle were the crème-de-la-crème of London’s exclusive boutiques and galleries.

Standing as a monument to the great British pastime of shopping, Barford’s apparently precarious Tower playfully likened our efforts to find fulfilment through retail with the biblical Tower of Babel’s attempt to reach heaven. Explicitly blurring the boundaries of art and commerce, each shop in the Tower went up for sale during its exhibition. With more prestigious but less affordable properties higher in the Tower, Barford confronted us with the choices we ourselves make as consumers, through necessity or desire.


London Design Festival

Over nine days in September, the London Design Festival feature hundreds of events taking place across London, showcasing the city's pivotal role in global design. The London Design Festival 2018 will be held 15-23 September, featuring over 400 Partners, Landmark Projects, and V&A Commissions.

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